All Men Must Take a Stand on Short Shorts

Come on, guys... do we really want to go down this road?

Slate and the Wall Street Journal have weighed in on an unsettling prospect for summer fashion, and I can't say I'm thrilled about it. While everyone is entitled to an opinion we just can't get onboard with a return to short shorts on men.

“In the past few years, the low-water-mark length of a 15-inch-or-so inseam receded to knee-length (11 inches),” writes David Colman in the WSJ, “then a knee-baring 9 inches, then to a quadriceps-exposing 7 inches and on to the newly fashionable thigh-flaunting 5 inches. If men's shorts were a glacier in Greenland, scientists would be freaking out.”

Celebrities Embrace Short Shorts
Mick Jagger, Pharrell Williams, and Russell Brand are just a few notable public figures who have embraced short shorts. View Larger

As a child of the 1990s—the era of Hammer pants and JNCO jeans—my own instincts tend toward the loose and comfortable. I simply lack the courage and confidence needed to flaunt my Irish thighs in a pair of 7-inch quasi-briefs. And I feel confident that most men I know would agree with me.

"If men's shorts were a glacier in Greenland, scientists would be freaking out." Tweet It

But that hasn’t stopped Slate, Jezebel, or Styleite from throwing their support behind this humiliating proposition.

Jezebel, while stopping short of whole-heartedly endorsing jorts, argues for shorts that "flatter the leg," and draw their line in the sand at mid-thigh. Slate goes so far as to claim men can "fight sexism" by wearing very short shorts. But not everyone is on board. Mother Jones reacted with horror, tweeting that the trend is "dangerous" and "wrong."

"Dangerous" is a strong word to describe short shorts, but I still have to throw my support behind Mother Jones.

Look, I'm not advocating for a return to cargo shorts and Capris—those are vile—but it is important to remember the inverse relationship between style and comfort. No man, no matter how self-assured and stylish he is in his shorts, can cite a pair of 5-inch knickers as a paragon of summertime comfort.


It’s on every man to decide where he fits on this graph. I find myself somewhere in the middle—adequately comfortable in a pair of slim-fitting slacks, but highly averse to groin-crunching short jorts.

Reviewed’s own C. Snow, on the other hand, is probably the staunchest advocate of the attire-as-function stance. After all, the man has been known to dazzle European airports and Vegas hotels with his assemblage of Boston College-branded sweatpants. Now that's self-confidence.

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